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perry for filling in while i was on vacation last week. they both did a great job. i'm happy to be back. this is a giant multimillion dollar clock. that is being built in the hills of west texas. it's about 2,000 feet elevation, not sure exactly where in west texas it is, but it's out about 2,000 feet. it's supposed to stand 200 feet tall. when it's done, this clock is supposed to keep time for 10,000 years. apparently the plan is that every year for the next 10,000 years, this clock keeping time will go off like a coo-coo clock and play a fresh new sound every year for 10,000 years. it is being built. it was dreamed up by some big thinkers. there are famous big thinkers that are on the board of this project like the great brian eno. they've been working on this since 1996.
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it so far has cost tens of millions of dollars. the man who has put up at least $40 million of the money spent so far on this clock is the man whose signature you'll find here at the bottom of www.10, if you can't read that, it is jeff bezos, the founder of, he's the deep pockets behind this 10,000-year 200-foot tall project. i learned this in a profile of jeff bezos in the "wall street journal." a newspaper that scared everyone in 2007 when it got itself sold to rupert murdoch. it was one thing to have a kind of eccentric billionaire own something like you see here, fox news channel. it's one thing to have an australian billionaire on the fox news channel or the frequently insane "new york post" tabloid, right? okay. but the "wall street journal"?
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a real newspaper? yes, rupert murdoch got the "wall street journal" a real newspaper and a real newspaper like "the boston globe" found itself sold again. the globe sold 20 years ago for $1.1 billion, billion with a "b," but this weekend when the globe got sold to the owner of the boston red sox, it went for $70 million, which is less than 7% of its price in 1993. used to be that the newspapers were the big solid businesses that would buy up comparably wobbly baseball teams. the "chicago tribune" newspaper bought the chicago cubs in 1981 but now it's the baseball teams that buy the wobbly major daily newspapers. if you put the worth of the red sox up against the price paid for the boston globe, it's not just that the team owner for the red sox could buy the boston globe, it's that he could easily buy it five times over, ten times over, 15 times over.
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or if it was a news magazine you were after, even you could buy an infinite number of major news magazines since you're getting close to dividing by zero when you're talking about major news magazines. "newsweek" was sold for one blessed dollar in 2010 for a man who promptly died in 2011. when news broke this weekend it had been sold again, the terms of the sale were not disclosed. do they really need to be? do you think it was more than a dollar this time or less than a dollar? there have been rumblings for a few months that the koch brothers will buy something called "the tribune group" which includes the "chicago tribune" as well as the "l.a. times," "baltimore sun," the hartford current, maybe the deal might include the second largest spanish language daily in the country. now, how you feel about the prospect of the koch brothers owning all of those newspapers probably depends in large part
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on how you feel about the koch brothers, how you feel about these aggressively political activist billionaire brothers and their fairly radical right wing politics. i mean, even people who don't like their politics and that activist probably don't mind it in the same way when they used their money to build theaters in the koch name at lincoln center or whatever. which they do, but owning those newspapers, owning the "l.a. times," "chicago tribune," two of the largest newspapers in the important swing states in the country in florida? the koch brothers? when news broke today that the libertarian-ish maybe billionaire founder of had added a little something called "the washington post" to his portfolio of investments alongside the 10,000-year clock and that mountain in west texas and also a company that makes little tiny mobile air bags that are supposed to deploy when they sense that you might be dropping your cell phone. and also and
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both of which went out of business when he invested in them. when news broke today that "the washington post" was being bought by jeff bezos for $250 million cash, which is less than 1% of what he is worth, does what that means and what you think about that depend more on what you think about the "washington post" as an institution or what you think of jeff bezos as a guy? how much does ownership of news outlets make a difference in the worth of what those news outlets produce? that is becoming a less and less abstract question all the time in our country now. because as the news business becomes totally fiscally devalued, frankly, random people can buy even its most esteemed and important pillars for the change rolling around in the bottom of their golf bag. what does that mean for our national civic foundational need for journalism? for reporters to find out what is going on in our country and our world and our government and to tell us the truth about it in a way we can understand.
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we really need that. a lot of the greatest stuff in american journalism is on sale at fire sale prices. how important is it who is buying? joining us now on this show, which is aired by msnbc, which is part of nbc universal owned by a company called comcast. joining us now is dan rather of "dan rather reports." and axis tv is owned by ryan seacrest and aeg and the talent agency caa and i think in minority interest is owned by cbs a little company for which dan rather used to host "the cbs evening news." great to have you here tonight. >> great to be here. >> should we be like nascar drivers or british soccer teams where we have to wear the corporate ownership for the companies we work for? >> let's hope it doesn't come to that. >> is it important who owns the major institutions of american journalism as to whether or not the journalism -- >> i think the answer is yes. make no mistake, when i heard this news this afternoon, my
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reaction was holy online news batman. after i caught my breath a little, i did come down to it makes a difference of who buys the newspaper. whether it turns out to be something good for "the washington post" good for quality journalism of integrity, good for the country or just good for bezos, depends on his attitude as the owner of the newspaper. great journalism begins with owners and publishers who have guts, who don't back up, don't back down when the pressure's on, don't succumb to what i previously call the corporatization, trivialization of the news. now if bezos brings to "the washington post" his entrepreneurial tech mogul know how about the importance of building and sustaining brands in the mega bucks it takes to do that and if he brings to it the
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kind of patience he's had with his other businesses and the concentrating on customers and the innovation. he made with the "washington post" lay out something that will save print journalism as we know it. that's a lot to lay on him. i come back to it depends on his approach. if he tries to bend it to his political whims, tries to change the core values of the paper, then it'll be a minus. but my bet's the other way. i think this will turn out to be a great day with journalism buying the "washington post." >> i was looking back at the rupert murdoch story to see if it was fair to say it scared the bejeebus out of everybody. with "the washington post" it's the graham family that sold it. with the "wall street journal," similar situation with the family that owned the dow jones corporation since 1902. we have this history of chicago, it's similar, the "l.a. times,"
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it's similar. this sort of patrician families making a lot of money in the newspaper business and holding on to these companies. the "new york times," holding on to these companies generationally. and us trusting them to be good stewards of those important journalistic entities. as newspapers become really cheap, is there reason to just think there's going to be more turnover and nobody invested in the long run in their family name and their family sort of honor being associated -- >> well, i certainly think you'll have more sales of newspapers because in "the washington post," i think their revenues were down 45% over the last six years. the answer first, more sales? yes. answer to the second, is it going to be just to put forward their own political beliefs as the murdoch empire has frequently done with his newspapers? or is it going to be the kind of ownership the saulsbergers?
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taking the view, these people took the view a public journal is a public trust. and we want to meet -- we're going to be emotionally involved in the responsibilities of that trust. what they do is build a fire wall between their own political interests and the interest of their corporate being and the paper. if that's the approach, it's very good who buys the paper. but if it's someone who is interested in just turning ha profit or is interested in their own using it as a political propaganda sheet, then it's for naught. i think there's reason to be optimistic about this. the "washington post" needs an infusion of money to rebuild its brand as a newspaper that matters. not only in the united states but also in a worldwide basis. and my money would be that bezos will lead it to that high ground.
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>> james fallo's writing had a similar take saying you know what, we live in an era of extreme inequality, and one of the consequences is newspapers are seen as charity for civic-minded zillionaires. >> mark cuban you mentioned before, and he's been tremendous to work for because he's invested in our news product but i never hear from him except when we're under attack and he comes to our defense. >> strange times. it's hard to trust in a system like this but it has never been more clear this is the system we are in. dan rather the anchor of "dan rather reports," thank you so much. >> thank you. lots ahead tonight. including where this happened. and how the american city that this happened to one year ago today is fighting back against the company that did it to them. it is a gripping fight and that's ahead. stay with us. she keeps serving up sneezes... [ sneezing ] she may be muddling through allergies.
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the most active and most people think the most dangerous chapter of al qaeda now. the u.s. government intercepted communication, apparently, about some attack or attacks that were apparently timed to right now by intercepting a communication between these two men. it's interesting, though. on friday night, the "new york times" posted an article saying there had been an intercept of something related to al qaeda that caused the embassy closings but they were not specific about the fact that it was the top guy, the one household name al qaeda terrorist left in the world, right? "the times" did not say on friday it was zawahiri, the top guy one of the people in the conversation that was intercepted. the times apparently knew that on friday night when they posted their story but did not include that detail in the story. quote, in an article posted on the web on friday and published on saturday, the identities of the al qaeda leaders whose conversations were intercepted were withheld by the "new york times" at the request of senior american intelligence officials. so "the times" reporters knew
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but didn't say in the article because the government asked them not to say. then on sunday, reporters from mcclachy went ahead and printed the guys' names. after the government became aware of this article, the government dropped its objections to "the times" publishing the same information. it is kind of ridiculous that everything we know about national security we know because of leaks. that is the way our government communicates with us about counterterrorism and national security issues, even just law enforcement to a certain extent. it's a anonymous sources giving information to reporters and nothing is ever official. and you can see the way they're sort of trying to balance their strategy here. the embassies all being closed for a long time, that's a big deal. you want people to know that this big deal thing you have done is justified. so it's helpful to be able to
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say something other than oh vaguely we have national security concerns so we're shutting down the embassies. we're worried about some threat we're not going to talk about. that's still the official line, right? it is helpful to be able to say that actually what this is an intercept of al qaeda's top leadership talking to each other directly about an imminent attack at a specific time. that said, you do not necessarily want the newspapers to print that the exact intercept you got was between guy named "a" and guy named "b" because then you are telling those specific guys in the pages of the "miami herald" or "new york times" that whatever means they were using to communicate with each other they felt was safe enough to use to have that conversation is not actually safe enough. they should not use that communication anymore because the u.s. government can listen into that. they might have thought it was safe, but it's not. so for u.s. intelligence purposes, whatever means they used to communicate, those two al qaeda guys, that may have been a very valuable source of information for the united states. valuable enough to have produced this threat warning and shut
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down these embassies. but now, that source of information has been disclosed to the people who were using it and so as an information source, intelligence source because of this leak, it is gone. and, of course, the other side of this it was all political. and right now, there are heightened domestic political considerations around those issues. more than there used to be thanks to edward snowden. and if you think about it, if you want people and politicians to feel better about the immense surveillance power of the united states government, then say what it's for. it's helpful to show whenever you can what we're using this power for is stopping specific plots by al qaeda guys that you can name. when you're talking about the abstract about the power of the government to spy, that power is less appealing in the abstract than when you think about the government deploying the power against bad guys. sounds great if it's for catching terrorists.
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that change in feeling about the government's power depending on what the government is using that power for, that change in our feeling about these government powers is a quantifiably observable thing. look at this, this is just from a couple of weeks ago. pew research center surveyed americans and asked them this question. do you favor the government collecting metadata from all communications in the united states? and the answer pretty much is, no, americans are not into that. only 21% of people favor that idea. but then if you ask the same people, the exact same question again, do you favor the government collecting metadata from all the communications in the u.s. and then you add this, as part of antiterrorism efforts? oh, well, when you put it that way, yes. yeah, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea. support for the exact same activity by the u.s. government jumps by 17 points when you ask the exact same question about the exact same behavior but
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mention terrorism in the same sentence, you get a 17-point jump in support. that was true when they asked about metadata, also true when they asked about the government actually listening in to your phone calls and reading your e-mails. this was the question, look, do you favor the government taking not just the metadata but the actual recordings, the actual text of almost all communications in the united states? you ask americans that and they say, no, we do not like the idea of the government doing that, only 16% of americans say i think that's a good idea. if you ask exactly the same question phrased the same way but at the end mention, as part of anti-terrorism efforts. just mentioning terrorism, that makes the support jump eight points. we may not like what our government is doing but if the government says what it's doing relates to fighting terrorism, then what the government's doing seems more appealing. so if the government's feeling heat for its massive secret surveillance power that we only find out through leaks and
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whistleblowers, politically it can help to link the exercise of that government power. that raw capacity to this fight we want the government to win against terrorists. george w. bush encapsulated this perfectly when the first wiretapping was reported in 2005 when he basically said, you know what, if you're not al qaeda, you've got nothing to worry about. this sort of thing cuts the other direction too, though. what if the american people haven't much cared about or maybe have even approved of something the government was doing because we thought it was for fighting terrorism but instead it's not. something that everybody -- maybe a little squeamish about but basically okay with because it's supposedly only for use against bad guys in foreign countries. guys like this, right? turns out instead it's being used by local american cops for regular old crime for stuff done by americans that has nothing to do with wacky religious ideology. what if powers of the u.s.
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government that had some agent somewhere listening into this conversation with the threats to the u.s. embassies. what if that same power has the same agents also listening in on your phone calls. finding out that maybe you're selling pot or something? because it turns out they are. they are using the same stuff that they are using to track terrorists to also work on domestic crime? there's been a flurry of recent reporting, the san francisco chronicle, the "new york times" and most intriguingly today in "reuters" about the fact that tips are being handed over to domestic american law enforcement through agencies like the dea, for things like regular old nonterrorist american crimes committed by americans. according to reuters, a secret dea unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of americans. reuters also reporting that law
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enforcement officials are getting trained that once they get these tips from nsa surveillance and other places they should cover up that the information they got came from any of those surveillance programs. they should, instead, pretend they got the information through traditional legal law enforcement means. they should launder the source of the information. these guys did not get the information through traditional law enforcement means they got it from the thing we've all been thinking they're only using against terrorists except they're supposed to be pretending otherwise. eek. joining us now is john schiffman. it is his reporting that brought this program to light. thank you very much for being with us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> how does the dea, a domestic law enforcement agency in this operating this context have access to this information that is only supposed to be about foreigners? how does this work? >> well, there are four ways that the special operations division which is a unit of dea gets this information. the first way they get it is through passed along nsa intercepts.
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the second way they get it from regular informants. the third way they get it is from a large data base of telephone and internet data collected inside the united states. and the fourth way is through wiretaps from one investigation and applying it to the next investigation. and what they do is pass these tips along to agents in the field. when the agents are released to make arrests, a traffic stop, they'll pull somebody over for speeding or for a taillight that's out on a pretext. and then after the person is arrested, they won't tell them the true reason why they were pulled over. what the original source of the investigation was. >> if that is -- i recognize that's not unique to this special operations division of the dea as you documented on your reporting that law enforcement sometimes does this to essentially launder the original source of what leads to a prosecution. but in that case, how can a person fully defend themselves if they're not able to follow the accusation against them to
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their source? >> well, law enforcement has a term for this. they call it quote parallel construction. and what it -- and it is designed to hide the evidence. and the problem it's not so much the probable cause and why someone might have been pulled over. the problem occurs if the case goes to trial and the defendant has a right to see that evidence in pretrial discovery that's against them, any evidence against them at trial. and they may not know about it the potential evidence, evidence that might show innocence, excuse, entrapment, any number of reasons why they ought to be able to put up a decent defense. >> is it clear to you in your reporting on this that when this information is coming to the dea from nsa intercepts that these nsa intercepts are things that only incidentally captured americans' behavior and american conversations? is it true this has to be stuff that was targeting foreign communications and people in other countries in the first place? and the nsa stumbled upon it by accident. >> that appears to be the case.
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you can never tell, agents tell us there's no way you can ever know if you're listening to an intercept or an e-mail whether the person's an american citizen. so there's really necessarily no way to know. they've been doing this since the mid-90s, the late '90s. they've been collecting this information and using them in a lot of different cases. >> at one point in your report, you say that the special operations division of the dea is still very highly classified part of that agency. its precise location not being revealed. how did you arrive at this estimate that this division has $125 million budget if that number is not public? that seems intriguing that you figured it out. >> usually when one of the most basic things besides spelling somebody's name correctly is how many employees do you have and what is your budget? and they declined to say. and i did a google search of special operations dea which is
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very well known for the work in all sorts of international drug cases and coordinating other cases. it isn't a secret but this work that we wrote about certainly is so i did a google search and someone who had it posted on their linkedin cite. >> i work at an agency that has $125 million budget? >> yes. and 300 employees. >> nice. thank you for your reporting. thanks for explaining it to us tonight. i appreciate your time. >> thanks a lot. >> thanks. there has been another hiccup in today's news for the most profitable business in the history of the universe. stay tuned for that. she's still the one for you -
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take a few days off and what happens? well, this news backs up at the junction at the debunction junction. is the buzzer working? straight ahead with a special focus tonight on politicians doing math live on tv. get the buzzer ready. stay with me. my insurance rates are probably gonna double. but, dad, you've got...
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said to review the stand your ground law in florida. they want that law repealed. the first the dream defenders didn't get much national attention. but people around the country started to notice that they were showing no signs of leaving. jesse jackson visited the dream defenders. a few days later, a democratic state representative dropped by. and then the rapper tweeted he'd be visiting the dream defenders this coming thursday. and part of what made this ongoing story so interesting is that the protesters are starting to achieve some measurable things. governor rick scott says he supports the florida stand your ground law, he, though, agreed to meet with the protesters and then actually did meet with the protesters who were camping out at his office. the protesters were happier to get that meeting than not, but they were not satisfied putting out this statement, quote, the governor finally met with us but provided no real leadership. rather than calling for a special session of the state legislature, he's calling for a day of prayer to end racial profiling.
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faith without works is not justice. and so they stayed for weeks until now there has been a breakthrough. the republican speaker of the house in florida has announced that when the legislature is back in session, there will be a hearing to review the state's stand your ground law. quote, i have asked the chair of our criminal justice subcommittee to hold a hearing this fall on stand your ground. hep went on, does the law keep the innocent safer? is it being applied fairly? are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable? these are appropriate questions that okay, then, no special session which is what the protesters were demanding, but the legislature is going to review the law with the public hearing on it. and that never would've happened but for the dream defenders refusing to budge until this issue was taken up in a serious manner by their state government. one of the ways we know because the person who is going to chair that hearing because he heads up that committee has already said he does not want to change,
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quote, one damn comma of the stand your ground law. it's not like he would've called this hearing of his own volition to review this law. but the not one damn comma guy is going to have to heald this hearing because his boss told him that the political pressure was too great not to. the dream defenders had an effect. and that is what it looks like when the activists and the electorate push back effectively against politicians. and this is what it looks like when the same politicians want to make the electorate a less effective source of political pressure. last year, governor rick scott backed by republicans in the senate voted to clean up the voter rolls. that effort, their purge of the voter rolls in florida did not go very well for governor scott. in fact, it was a ranked humiliation. the numbers, the initial list was 182,000. that's how many people the governor and his team put on
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their list as florida voters suspected of being noncitizens. they wanted to throw these 182,000 people off the voter rolls in time for the november election. after a serious critical look at the list, you know to know what that number got whittled down to? from 182,000 to, oh, 2,600. then it was pared to 198 which i'm not sure is quite to scale because i'm not sure we can show that small of a number compared to that large of number with any accuracy on your tv unless your tv is giant. once it got down to 198 from a number roughly 100 times that size, the local election officials concluded and i'm paraphrasing, this is ridiculous. this is made up, we are not doing this. and governor rick scott's efforts to purge the voter rolls in florida was suspended. that was last year right before the presidential election. rather than learn a lesson from that teachable moment of failure, governor rick scott
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emboldened, they're going for it again. they're trying to do the same thing. the governor's top election officials now creating a new list of suspected noncitizens among florida voters using a data base maintained by the federal government and cross checking it with a data base maintained by the state which florida lawmakers have not been allowed to see. secret data, what could possibly go wrong? it all went so well before. one republican state senator says he expects the purge to begin in the next two months. oh, and did i mention that rick scott is up for reelection next year? joining us now is laurie edwards supervisor of elections, former democratic house member. we covered from afar that effort at a voter purge last year in florida. how did those numbers get whittled down from 180,000 to less than 200 before the whole idea was abandoned? >> it was simple, they were challenged. they were looked at.
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we put a little sunlight on the governor's numbers and they magically disappeared. >> in terms of the way the sunlight works, was that essentially election officials such as yourself following up to see if, in fact, on the list? >> exactly, rachel. each of us did our own research and looked individually to each and every one of those voters. we found a large majority of them, the identity didn't match. many, many more had been removed, some of them ten or seven years before. some of them had moved to other areas and then many of them, we could see the original image when they registered to vote. they were born in new york and florida and many, unfortunately, were born in puerto rico. that was a very concerning point. >> a number of large number of people a disproportionate number of people born in puerto rico were selected as suspected noncitizens by the state government? >> yes. >> wow. why did the state government believe that their data was a stronger indication of the
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citizenship of voters than what was maintained at the county level by election officials like yourself? >> i can't even begin to answer that one. i just can't even imagine what they were thinking. we gave them warning ahead of time. the local election officials said if you're going to do this, we want good, accurate data. i want documentation. and you know what we got for documentation, an excel spread sheet from the department of state. >> wow. over a year before the next election, statewide election in florida, i assume that any effort to purge the voter rolls is better done this far advance of an election rather than as close as the last effort. do you expect this one will turn out differently? >> i do believe so. i do believe there were some election officials last time that trusted tallahassee. i don't think you'll find one of them in florida this year that's going to trust them. >> the argument about voter integrity has been fought over nationally with some aggression over the last couple of years and with a lot of disingenuous
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argument about whether or not the voting rolls actually do have integrity or whether there's a real problem with elections being stolen. what do you feel about the overall integrity of that argument and how we are arguing about this as a country. >> you may have noticed that argument went away after the presidential election, but, boy, you couldn't fling a cat without hitting it before the presidential election. i think it was just a smoke screen, a partisan smoke screen. >> lori edwards, the supervisor of elections in polk county, florida, who has a hard job and does it with good humor. nice to have you here. >> good to be here. >> thank you. all right. a wealth of so-called facts will be duly debunked on debunction junction. ♪
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debunktion junction, what's my function? okay, true or false, according to the number two republican in the house, our national deficit is out of control. it is growing. here's how congressman eric cantor put it on the fox sunday show this weekend. >> what we're trying to do is fund the government and make sure also that we take away the
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kinds of things that are standing in the way of a growing economy of better health care and all the while keeping our eye focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem which is this growing deficit. >> our ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit. the deficit is growing. do we have a growing deficit? is that true or false? false. republicans love the idea that our democratic president is so spend happy that he's driving up our nation's budget deficit. there's a difference between what our government takes in and what it spends is getting worse, the deficit is getting bigger that is not at all true. look, the first bar here is 2009, that's president obama's first year in office that's what he had on his hands when he came into office, what he got handed by the outgoing republican administration, then the next three bars are 2010, 2011, 2012 and the final bar, the teeny tiny one, little shorty there, you might miss it on the right, that's the projected deficit for the end of this year.
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notice that the bars are getting shorter? which means the deficit is getting smaller. you see when things were once long become less long, they are not growing. it's amazing, right? eric cantor, you are incorrect. next up, true or false, the city of detroit is holding an important election tomorrow for the top leadership of that great american city. is that true or is that false? that is false. the city of detroit is holding an election tomorrow but it is pointless because there is no democracy in detroit anymore. the guy on the left of your screen here is dave bing who is the mayor of detroit elected by the people in 2009. he's not running again for the position and i think i know why. the guy on the right is kevin ohr, detroit's emergency manager, he was never elected to his position, he was put in place by michigan's governor. he makes 75% more than the
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governor makes. whatever he wants, detroit does because he is the emergency manager not the elected leader and emergency managers get to run that city now, not the people who get elected. so tomorrow we'll go through the motions, more than a than a doz will be running in a primary to become detroit's next powerless figurehead mayor who can't do anything. the top two finishers regardless of party will move on to the general election in november and that will give the people of detroit another chance to take part in a pointless exercise in fake democracy that ought to be called a pageant and not an election. and although maybe it's not a bad idea to keep the voting machines running in case they're needed again someday, they're not really needed right now. and -- thank you. finally, speaking of mayoral elections, is it true or false that a town in minnesota has just re-elected for a second mayoral term a 4-year-old boy? is that true or is that false? true. the place is dorsett, minnesota,
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population 28 on a good day. assuming nobody's on vacation or on a business trip. but one day a year thousands of people come to town to sample dorsett's restaurants and to vote for the town's mayor. it costs a dollar to cast a vote. you can vote as often as you want to pay a dollar. but in the end the winner is chosen by lottery. so you get your name in the hat by paying a dollar. right? but eventually somebody just picks a name out of the hat. i mean, the way to increase your chances is to get your naum on as many votes as possible, right? it's kind of like "the hungary games" only you want your name picked in the reaping. last year it was a 3-year-old boy who got his name picked out of a hat. bobby tufts won the mayoralty of this town. he apparently liked it, and so this year he campaigned hard to keep the job. >> the charm of a 4-year-old who loves fishing goes a long way. even for a candidate who's easily distracted. >> come back. >> reporter: still voter after voter scribbled the tough name. >> his stands on ice cream and things like that are hard to
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beat. >> we're rooting for you, robert. >> reporter: the winner is picked by chance. >> the mayor of dorsett is picked out of a hat. >> reporter: not even in kindergarten -- >> robert tufts! >> reporter: and already a two-term mayor. >> he was re-elected. by chance. as in detroit, the position does appear to be largely ceremonial in nature. but in the case of dorsett, minnesota, everybody seems to be happy about it. congratulations, mr. mayor. ♪
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axiron. and didn't know where to start. a contractor before at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list, so you can trust what you're reading. angie's list is like having thousands of close neighbors, where i can go ask for personal recommendations. that's the idea. before you have any work done, check angie's list. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. i love you, angie. sorry, honey. in the law there exists a sort of obscure legal concept that applies to specific actions or activities that aren't just dangerous to the person who is engaged in that activity. but that's dangerous to everybody else who's even in the vicinity of that activity. such behavior in legal terms is known as ultra hazardous activity.
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an ultra hazardous activity is defined as any act that is so inherently dangerous that the person performing it can be held liable for injuries to other persons, even if they took every reasonable step to prevent the injury. ultrahazardous activities are also known as abnormally dangerous activities. abnormally dangerous. would it be abnormally dangerous to put something like this here? this is the chevron oil refinery in the city of richmond, california just outside of san francisco. chevron built this refinery in 1902. and they have been operating right there ever since. they have been operating right next to the beating heart of this not inconsiderably sized american city. and it has not exactly been a happy marriage between the refinery and the city that snugs up to it. the city says that in the last two-plus decades alone that refinery's had 14 separate incidents where it's released toxic chemicals into the air. and because of where it is it means those toxic chemicals are not going into surrounding unpopulated areas. they're going right into the center of a city that's located
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in one of the most densely populated parts of the country. given that safety record, given the age of that refinery, given the refinery's immediate proximity to tens of thousands of people who don't have a super easy way out if things go wrong, you would think that chevron would be super duper careful about how that particular refinery operates. the evidence suggests that you would be wrong. this pipe, this corroded steel pipe, was operating in the part of the refinery that deals with crude oil. the pipe had been recommended for replacement numerous times over the years, but chevron never bothered. at 3:48 p.m. last august 6th the worker at that chevron plant noticed that the pipe was leaking. even though they knew something was wrong, chevron officials decided to keep the whole refinery running, to keep even that specific part of the refinery running anyway despite the leak. they kept it running for 2 1/2 more hours. that pipe eventually started leaking a hydrocarbon vapor into the air, which formed this lovely toxic cloud over the city of richmond.
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and then a few minutes after that vapor cloud formed, boom. that chevron plant in richmond, california erupted into flames. the fire spread all sorts of toxic chemicals all across the city. it took firefighters more than 4 1/2 hours to fully contain the situation. it turned the city of richmond, california into something that more closely resembled a war zone. when all was said and done, 15,000 richmond-area residents were forced to seek medical treatment at local hospitals for stuff like breathing problems and chest pain and shortness of breath. 15,000 people. that accident was one year ago tomorrow. and now a year after that accident the city of richmond has decided to sue chevron for what they are calling chevron's ultrahazardous activity. richmond decided to sue after talks collapsed over chevron paying back the city for what it did. chevron in fact really kind of seems to hate the city. they said -- they responded to the lawsuit by saying it's a waste of the city's resources designed to divert attention
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from a dysfunctional city council. whoa, who are you calling dysfunctional? that comment came on friday after the city of richmond sued chevron. then on saturday more than 2,000 people marched on that refinery in protest of what chevron did there a year ago. police say it was largely a peaceful and organized protest, but more than 200 people were ultimately arrested on trespassing charges. they had planned to be arrested, and they were. today chevron settled the criminal charges that were related to that refinery explosion. they agreed to pay roughly $2 million in fines and restitution. should be noted that represents a little more than 3% of daily profit for the chevron corporation. but because the city of richmond is taking action on its own behalf, that may not be the end of it. that 3% of one day's profit may not be the bottom line for chevron. the mayor of richmond was one of the protesters at the refinery this weekend. let me explain why chevron has been busy insulting and deriding the city that has this refinery
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of its in public. who knows how this is going to turn out? both sides seem to be fully digging in at this point and pledging to fight it to the end. but in the meantime the city of richmond proceeds about its daily business in the shadow of that more than 100-year-old refinery that has caused them so much trouble and heartache over the years and over this past year specifically. this is a very unhappy marriage. we shall see how it ends. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. tonight, the nsa is claiming credit for discovering the latest al qaeda threat by monitoring overseas electronic communications. new information on the global terror threat. >> the terror threat continues. >> that is keeping more than a dozen u.s. embassies and consulates closed. >> we're going to keep evaluating information as it comes in. >> for others it was a chance to put the spotlight back on benghazi. >> pen gazi was a complete failure. >> a direct consequence of what we saw in benghazi. >> we've learned from
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